Dr. Schramm provides the latest insights into the waters for Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, & Pennsylvania. Check out the waters near you for the latest information on the spring spawning months…
By Dr. Hal Schramm
1Ohio River, McAlpine Pool, Indiana and Kentucky
Once free-flowing, the Ohio River has been modified into a series of impoundments to create sufficient depth for year-round commercial navigation. Although dams often have negative biological consequence, they usually benefit bass fisheries; and McAlpine Pool near Louisvile, Ky., offers anglers good fishing for largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass. All three species are post spawn, according to regional tournament angler Michael Thompson. These different species of bass mingle in McAlpine Pool, so Thompson’s advice will put you on all three. What differs, though, is whether there is current or not. Water flow occurs when the locks are operated. Anticipated current conditions can be obtained by calling the lockmaster. Alternatively, run to the middle of the river and put the engine in neutral to see if you boat drifts or you see other floating objects drifting.
Plan A: If there is current. When the water is flowing, Thompson looks for current breaks — rock jetties (wing dikes), rocky points, or anything that provides slack water or a break in the current. Thompson relies on three baits: a black Booyah Buzz, a Z Shad Booyah Boss Pop, and a Bandit 100 in a Shad pattern. “The fish are predictable where they are positioned relative to the current,” Thompson said. “Try to dial in on the subpattern. Stay mobile. These sheltered areas reload quickly. When a spot burns out, go elsewhere and return later.”
Plan B: No current. This is tough fishing; fish suspend in river and are hard to catch. “Go to largest, deepest creek. Start at mouth and fish to the back,” advised Thompson. “Don’t expect a fast-and-furious bite, but the bass have less area to hide in the creek s, so you up your chances, and you will catch fish.” Thompson relies on a 3/16-ounce YUM Pumpkin Head jig dressed with a Green Pumpkin worm. Thompson fishes parallel to the bank, starting shallow and moving deeper to determine the depth where the bass are positioned. Pitch the shaky head tight to any cover you see.
Pro pointer: “If you get rain, look for first runoff into the creek arm. Clear or muddy, the water will attract bait and concentrate the bass. Stick with the shaky head, maybe try the Bandit 100,” advised the Ohio River veteran.